Wheat and Tares

Prayer in troubled times: wheat and weeds together sown.

Prayer is an important part of my life spiritual and otherwise. I understand prayer as an opening to larger realities. I put my own problems – small or large – into the hands of the Holy One. I put the problems of the world that concern me into the hands of the Holy One. Sometimes I receive an insight, and sometimes just a glimmer of how I might be part of the answer to my prayer concern. Sometimes – most of the time – I get nothing. To be more accurate, I get Holy Space – the “still small voice” as Isaiah called it. I prefer to call that still small voice, “the pregnant silence.” Those Holy Spaces seem to get longer and longer these days. We all have concerns, and they are not all the same. Mine seem intractable: ecological climate change, the tumultuous political climate, sick friends, and death. They pile up.

This coming Sunday, the lectionary gives us Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares – a weed for those trying to grow wheat. Because the wheat and the tares look almost identical as they are growing, it’s difficult to tell the difference. The bottom line is that distinguishing between good and evil is sometimes very challenging. The servants want to go out and pull up the weeds, but the owner tells them to allow them to grow side by side until harvest. Jesus challenges us to refrain from pulling up what we think is evil in case that in doing so, the good may be uprooted as well.

So what do I pray for – the mind of Jesus:

  • Deepening my understanding of the deepest desires of all involved.
  • Refraining from any demonizing even for those with whom I most deeply disagree.
  • Choosing non-violence as the first and last choice in any conflict.
  • Trying to be as non-dualistic as I can be, to see God’s world as one.

How do you pray in times of tumult? I pray you might find peace in the very midst of trying.


Larry Handwerk